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An Unexpected Classic - 90%

XuL_Excelsi, November 26th, 2009

Hecate Enthroned is a hugely underrated black metal act, and seems to always be overlooked by the genre’s followers.

Upon first hearing this debut EP, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it, being used to the more “accessible” sound of their later albums and even early Cradle of Filth albums. The raw sound of this album takes some getting used to if you’re used to later releases like “Dark Requiems…”.

However, it soon dawned on me that I had underestimated “Upon Promethean Shores” initially. It is truly an amazing debut effort, powerfully melodic black metal taking production cues reminiscent of COF’s “The Principle of Evil…”.

Keyboards play a lead role here, with guitars often taking a back seat. Symphonics create incredible atmosphere and add depth to every track. The songs have a curiously enigmatic feel, switching from heavy black to sweeping symphonic emotion seamlessly. All instruments are excellently executed, although bass is hardly audible, save for a few slower sections and intro’s. Hecate Enthroned showed great talent and promise on this release, with passion ringing in every note.

The vocals, consisting mostly of screeches and squeals with the occasional growl, are very fitting to the music, with a feverishly intense delivery and enough variety throughout tracks, avoiding monotony. The lyrics are also worth mentioning, eloquently written in a style that hints to Cradle Of Filth.

This is a debut equal to the likes of “The Principle of Evil…” and “For All Tid”, and yet somehow even better. Whereas on the aforementioned COF album, you feel them overthinking the songs, trying to reach their eventual fame prematurely, HE is different, never trying to be something they’re not.

My only critique is that the drum sound is way too thin, with the bassdrum a click scarcely heard over the other instruments, it lacks the depth and aggression needed to drive the epic songs forward.

This is an incredible album nonetheless that need not be overlooked, it deserves more attention and repeated listens. This is black metal as it was meant to be, with tremolo guitars, screeching vocals and blasting drums, but with a twist. The hauntingly beautiful keyboards and symphonic sections breathe new life into the genre and this EP leaves me awestruck every time. These 6 tracks are always over all too soon.